Trataka

Names

Trataka, Tratak, Fixed Gazing, Fixed Gazing meditation, Blinkless Gazing, Yogic Gazing

Tratak is a well-known Kriya or karma of the six karmas of yoga, the ‘Shatkarma’ and it also is a practice of meditation.

There are many different practices explained in different texts but they are all very similar. You can find the practice of Tratak with a betel leaf, a paper, a candle, a needle, darkness, open sky, a photograph, a deity, a crystal, a stone, a flower, the moon, a star, a painting, shadow, nature, a tree, ocean waves, a flag, a bird etc.

How to perform Trataka

The main practice of Trataka is to gaze. It doesn’t matter which object you use for this but you should focus on it and gaze at it without blinking. You can even close your eyes and focus within with closed eyes.


Choose any object that is currently available to you. If you are in nature, choose a tree, a stone, a flower or anything similar. If you are out in the night, do Trataka with the moon or the stars. If you are inside your home, just use anything that you see and can focus on.
The most common and suggested one is the practice with a lit candle.


Light a candle in a dark room and place it about 75 to 90 centimeters away from you at the level of your eyes. Focus on the flame and continuously stare at it without blinking until tears start running down your cheeks. Then close your eyes but keep gazing at the same point from behind your eyelids for 15 to 20 seconds. After that relax your eye muscles.
Place your palms over your eyes without any pressure on the eyeballs. Gently move your palms in circles. Take a towel or tissue to wipe your eyes.


After that you can continue the practice. You can do this exercise for 12 to 15 minutes.

For inner Trataka practice, close your eyes and start with gazing on your third eye between your eyebrows. Further you focus on your breath and then you focus on your mind and thoughts and just pick one thought or picture and focus on that. For example think of your loved one. Gaze on it inside of you and then narrow your circle of vision and point your focus more specifically at one point in the picture. Continue the practice until you can forget your surroundings completely. That is the stage of deep meditation. This is called Trataka meditation, also known as Dharana or concentration.

Benefits of Trataka

Trataka is very obviously a very great exercise for the eyes. It moves the eye muscles which are in the usual way of looking often only staring without moving. It can help people who suffer from glaucoma, conjunctivitis, eye herpes, keratoconus, macular degeneration, ocular hypertension and sometimes even for retinitis pigmentosa and Stargardt disease. Usual and common problems like hypermetropia (longsightedness) or myopia (nearsightedness) and astigmatism can be relieved. Peripheral vision problems, presbyopia and diplopia can all get help through the practice of Trataka.


If you suffer from frequent headaches, you can also get relief by regular practice of Trataka.
Apart from physical benefits for your eyes, there are many benefits of Trataka on your mind. You increase your concentration in every day’s life by concentrating regularly for a little while in Trataka. You will be able to focus and concentrate longer and better without getting distracted.


Through this time of concentration in between, you also reduce your stress in daily life. This is good for your mental health, helps you get better sleep and brings your nervous system to peace.

Focus Points

Do not let your thoughts distract your eyes from their focus. Keep concentrated.

Tips and Help

Keep breathing normally and stay relaxed, that helps you concentrate. If you are used to perform Dirgha Pranayama, deep yogic breathing, you can also use this breathing practice.
Keep a tissue or towel next to you for wiping your eyes and blowing your nose.

If you have an eye problem and you want to practice Trataka for that, please consult your doctor and yoga teacher before starting the exercise.

Netra Dhauti – Eye Cleaning

Names

Netra Dhauti, Eye Cleaning

How to perform Netra Dhauti

Sit in Utkatasana and take clean and fresh water into a little bowl. Open your eyes and rinse your eyes with the clean water by taking some water into your hands and spilling it into your eyes.


Then fill your mouth with as much water as you can and rinse your eyes again with the clean water. Spit out the water after that.


Repeat this procedure three times.


Another way to do this exercise is to form a cup with your hand and fill it with water. Then you bend over your hand filled with water and open and close your eyes so that they will be cleaned.


You can also take a big pot with water, dip your face into it and open and close your eyes while your mouth is full with water.

Nowadays you can also buy eyecups and they can also be used for this exercise.

Benefits of Netra Dhauti

Netra Dhauti improves eye sight and is beneficial for all kinds of eye problems. This is also a good exercise if you are suffering from head ache because headache is often related to problems with the eyes or stressed eyes.


insomnia can also be eased because this exercise gives the eyes a rest and they get something like a workout during cleaning the eyes with waters which prepares them to relax.


Don’t do it if you have wounds in your eyes or just had a surgery at your eyes.

Tips and Help

If you have burning sensation in your eyes, use rosewater to rinse them or put a bit of it in water. If you have sore eyes, a burning sensation or if they are tearing, you can use water with Triphala, an Ayurvedic medicine in there.

Jala Neti

Names

Jala Neti, Water Neti, Water Nasal Cleaning, Neti, Water Nasal Cleansing

For doing Jala Neti, you need a Neti pot or a ‘Ganga Sagar’, as it is called in India.

This is a pot that has a kind of tube or pipe from which you can pour out water in a steady stream.


In India it was formerly usual for people to perform Neti Kriya without any Neti pot. They sniffed water into the nose from a normal Lota, a drinking pot.

Other practitioners drank water and then brought it out through the nose. Again others drank it through the nose and then performed Kunjar Kriya afterwards.

This nasal cleaning in different ways was previously a normal way of cleaning one’s body, just like brushing teeth and showering.


With the invention of the Neti pot the practice has become easier for people who have never practiced Neti before.

How to perform Jala Neti

You need a Neti pot, half a liter of water of a pleasantly warm temperature and about one teaspoon of sea salt. Mix the salt into the water.


Jala Neti can be performed in standing, squatting or in Utkatasana . If you stand, bend forward from your waist and then perform it. Check which of your nostrils is active and start from that one.


Fill your Neti pot with the salty water, and if your right nostril is active, tilt your head to the left and place the cone of the pot to your right nostril. It should have an ending of a size that you can easily insert it a bit into your nose.

Lean a bit further to the left side and start breathing through your mouth. Relax and let the water flow into your right nostril and out of the left one.


When the water is all out, take the pot away from your nose and sniff out the remaining water and mucus from your nose with force.


Repeat the same procedure from the other nostril.


After performing the Kriya from both sides, stand up straight, bend forward a bit and take five to ten breaths with inhalation through the mouth and exhalation through the nose.

If you still feel water in your nose, bend forward completely and repeat the breathing. Get up again and sniff everything out that is left.


Now you should tilt your head back for about 30 seconds, then to the left for 30 seconds and finally to the right for 30 seconds.

Again you sniff anything out that still remained inside.

Benefits of Jala Neti

Neti is one of the best Kriyas for cleaning the nasal and sinus cavity.

In our nose there is hair that catches dust and dirt and mucus that does the same. In this way your body prevents the dirt from reaching further into your respiratory system but obviously this dust then is caught in your nose.

Neti helps you to properly clean your nose from this dust, mucus and all bacteria which may be caught in that.


By this cleaning, Neti prevents and even cures infections of the nasal cavity, hay fever and other allergies, sinusitis, adenoids and post nasal drip. Even sore throats and coughs as well as inflammation of the tonsils can be prevented and healed.

If you suffer from asthma or bronchitis, Neti can relieve your breathing problems by opening and cleaning your nostrils.


Your nose is connected with your eyes, ears and even your brain. This is why, when you have a cold or flu and mucus accumulates in your nose and sinuses, you feel that your whole head is heavy.

You feel pressure on your ears and can even have headache. Cleaning that mucus can have a liberating effect!


You can thus get rid of headaches and migraines and your vision will get clearer. Your eyes get hydrated and thus you shine much more.


If your hearing ability is impaired by mucus or if you have pain, inflammation or infections in the ears, Neti might be a helpful practice.

It is even said to cure otitis media and tinnitus.


The cleansing of your nose also enhances the power of your olfactory nerve which is connected to our sense of taste.

This is why it is said that Neti improves the senses of smell and taste.

Jala Neti is additionally a great help for people who are willing to quit smoking.

Tips and Help

Take care not to pour water from the top of the pot on your face.


Do not force the pot’s cone too hard into the nostrils.


Drying the nose afterwards by blowing is necessary because it is not good to leave water in the nose. It can cause you cold or funny feeling in the head so better clean it out.

To prepare yourself for Jala Neti, you can practice Dirgha Pranayama and Nadi Shodhana Pranayama before.

After Jala Neti you can practice Kapalabhati Pranayama which will dry your sinus cavities.